I’m very fortunate with my role in the meetings industry – I have the great privilege to visit a number of hotels coast to coast. Site visits at hotels are sometimes done as part of a larger familiarization trip, some with a specific client program in mind.
Below are some tips to help you as the planner, get the most out of your site visit experience:
- Take notes!! Often writing things down helps with memory recall, as well as being able to revisit your notes when required for a specific program. Use shorthand, and highlight items that you love, like or dislike.
- Focus – be honest with the sales team about what is at the top of your list to view. You may not need to see every single room category if a majority of your clients book standard rooms. If you book high-end group, amenities like the spa may be critical to view.
- It’s the journey, not the destination – put yourself in the shoes of your delegates, and walk through the space. Is it easy to get from the guest rooms to the meeting space? Is your meeting space going to see traffic from other clients or groups in the hotel at the same time? What is the quickest route to the lobby Starbucks?
- Guest rooms – Rather than focus on what standard amenities the room has, try to make note of the things that may make them different. Most rooms now have a coffee maker and a flat screen TV, but do they have a separate tea kettle, empty mini-bar fridge or a coat hook by the door?
- Wifi connectivity – My kids remind me every day how fast the wifi is…. So will your delegates, especially if its slow. During your site, run a quick test using your phone – apps are available that can help you run these rudimentary tests. If there is an AV person on your site, quiz them on their ability to support a certain amount of people with multiple devices on the network at the same time.
- Lobby bar – If one of your program’s objectives is “networking”, which it often is, then having enough space for impromptu opportunities is critical for program success. Most of your program’s networking and deal-making will be done in the lobby bar, so make sure you check out the capacity, ambiance and service levels.
Stay tuned for next month’s post – Tips for a Successful Site Visit, Advice for the Hotel Team (Part II)